...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


The Results Are In!

2009 Veggies
Just a day or two before Thanksgiving we had a freeze, which finally put an end to our garden.  I harvested and weighed what I salvaged from the frost; the final yield has been tallied.  I've estimated that we have about 250 square feet of food growing space (with probably that much more used for native flowers and other perennials).  I rounded down all the weights and didn't think to start measuring anything until after my spring harvest of many salad greens, spinach, radishes.  So the official grand total is 227.39 pounds--almost one pound per square foot--including bumper crops of 15 lbs. green beans, 22+ lbs. carrots and 61+ lbs. tomatoes.  I've been trying to find information online about how what a good per square foot yield is on an intensively planted plot like ours, but have had no luck.  (Please share any leads you might have.)  I suppose the goal for next year is to top this; I'm already getting ideas for how to expand the growing space.

Have you had enough turkey yet?  We ended up with an almost 20-pound bird.  The only drawback, I've found, of ordering a local turkey is that it can be more difficult to get the exact size you want.  I bargained for a <15 lbs. tom and got a much meatier one.  I have the "Turkey" folder pulled out of my recipe file (why yes, I do have a file dedicated just to this bird; it's a sub-category under "Poultry" in the ordered box of clippings about which my husband constantly teases me.)  We polished off the tetrazzini in no time so tonight I prepared a Mexican Lasagna with my own twists.  When people ask me if I learned to cook from my mother I hesitate because my mom was more of the casserole generation.  Don't get me wrong, she made mostly from-scratch dinners every night, rarely used the microwave for food preparation, and raised a very healthy family, but she and I happen to have different styles of cooking.  Let me put it this way, at the Thanksgiving dinner table, as I was picking through our deck of Earth Dinner cards and came upon the question "What foods are staples in your pantry/fridge?" my mom admitted to relying on Cream of Mushroom Soup.  On that note, I dedicate this casserole recipe to her; she's the ace of this domain.  I love you Muzz!

South-of-the-Border Lasagna
Serves 8-12

1 lb. leftover turkey, chopped in a food processor (can sub. ground turkey)
16 oz. homemade salsa
3 dried hot peppers, cut into small pieces
2 t. chili powder
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1 large egg, whisked
2 c. ricotta cheese
1 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
14 sprouted corn tortillas
2 c. cooked beans (mung, black, pinto, etc.) pureed w/ enough liquid to make spreadable
2 c. fresh frozen corn kernels
4 green onion, chopped (optional, to garnish)
Sour cream/plain whole milk yogurt (optional, to garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat a large skillet and add turkey, salsa, chilies, and seasonings.  Cook a few minutes so flavors can meld; set aside.  In a small bowl, combine egg, ricotta, and 1/4 c. mozzarella.  Grease sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish.  Cover bottom of pan with 4 tortillas.  Layer in the following order: corn, 1/2 of meat mixture, 4 tortillas, bean puree, remaining meat, 4 tortillas, then cheese mixture, remaining shredded cheese.  Bake about 45 minutes or until bubble and golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting and serving.  Garnish with green onions, and sour cream/yogurt.  Can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated before baking.

Our Front Door
Now that Thanksgiving has passed we've started to think about December holidays: Winter Solstice, Christmas, New Year's Eve.  Ben and I each did our part in stringing white LED lights on the front of the house.  I knew I wanted to use more of my reserved blackberry canes somehow in the garland; I wasn't prepared to shell out upwards of $100 on greenery this year so I used my resources and homegrown decoration.  My original idea was to outline the front doorway with the twisting canes, but since they'd been wound up in the garage for the past month, they wanted nothing to do with bending my way. I decided to work with them.  The design evolved to an over-the-door cluster of vines and lights--very organic and eclectic; I love it.  I also repeated from last year the lights in the window boxes twisting through my pea trellis twigs.  With some icicle lights on the front roofline, that's all the outdoor decorating we'll do.  The inside we'll keep simple as well--a small tree with lights and heirloom ornaments, the small keepsake creche Ben bought in Chile, and maybe a string of homemade garland in a doorway.  I aim to focus on the joys and peacefulness of the season instead of bogging myself down with setup and cleanup, not to mention the expense...oh, and off-season storage, of a lot of decorations.  'Tis the season for keeping it simple.

Window boxes 
Cluster of Blackberry Canes with White Lights

1 comment:

  1. You did a really pretty job, very festive looking, love the lights.